In the old days, well just 15 years ago actually, if as a business you alienated a customer the damage was limited to their social and business circle. Now in 2012 one person can talk to millions and customer service has never been so important!
I just had two experiences, one good and one bad, so I thought I’d relay these to you as examples of how simple and fairly small actions can affect your business.
THE GOOD EXPERIENCE
Lorraine and I have booked a holiday in May and while looking at overwhelming number of options we found a Virgin holiday that looked good. A few years ago I have a bad experience flying with Virgin and was adamant we’d find something else but after searching for days, literally, I agreed to book this holiday.
In the booking confirmation Virgin gave us a lot of useful bits of information, one of which was all their resorts have a “Concierge” service. I had previously emailed our hotel to ask about WiFi/internet access (yes I will be working but just for an hour a day) and had received no response, not good, so I emailed the concierge. Within 24 hours she had emailed me back and confirmed the answer to my question. I asked a couple of more questions and true enough back came the answers.
This was just brilliant and has rally lifted my feelings towards Virgin to the point I’m telling you about this. It’s also meant I can look forward to my holiday knowing I’ll be able to get stuff done if I have to.
THE BAD EXPERIENCE
I’ve been using Karcher products in my garage for many years, vacuums and pressure washers. 18 months ago my 10 year old Karcher pressure washer died so I replaced it with a new Karcher pressure washer. All was well until several weeks ago the new unit started spraying water out from inside the casing and was clearly broken. I stripped it down and it looked like the pump casing was cracked. I went onto the internet and found that Karcher don’t seem to use social media at all, so I found an email address on their site. On the 26th March I took photos of the problem and sent an email off to firstname.lastname@example.org asking if it was repairable.
It’s now the 8th April and I’ve not even had a “thank you for your email” in return.
So here’s the result. I’ve just ordered a Nilfisk C120 3-6 pressure washer, NOT a Karcher, to replace my 18 month old broken Karcher. So Karcher WHY HAVE AN EMAIL ON YOUR SITE IF YOU IGNORE INCOMING EMAILS!
Now of course I’m telling you, and potentially hundreds of millions of other people about my experience. This is the power of the internet and any business not delivering good customer service should seriously reconsider its business model. As the cliché goes:
IF YOU THINK CHANGE IS HARD YOU’RE GOING TO HATE EXTINCTION
As Karcher don’t have any real internet presence there’s a strong chance they aren’t even monitoring online for their name. If they were they would be notified and would be able to connect with me to at least do some damage limitation. Are you there Karcher?